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Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Process of Writing Part II (Structure): Session Two

After we have established a good strong Ghost, next we have to think about what will carry the reader through the story. Think of this as a type of skeleton, what we call in writing, the Context.

Simply put the Context is everything surrounding your protagonist in the story i.e. setting, minor characters, the very world where your hero lives.

The context is what we use to express our protagonist. Going back again to the mythos of the Star Wars Universe, the planets, the star ships, the aliens all support the idea of a world where Luke could exist.

Take your favorite story, whether it is a romance or an action thriller, if you change the setting you change your story. By changing the setting or even the minor characters with which your hero interacts changes your entire story. This is the essence of Context.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Author interview with Review From Here

Interview with Ray Ellis, author of “N.H.I.: No Humans Involved”

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About Ray Ellis

Ray EllisRay Ellis began his law enforcement career with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department in Orange County, California. After working for a number of years in the maximum security facility, he transferred to patrol working along Orange County’s coast as well as the inner canyons and barrios. After 8 years he moved to Idaho and continued his law enforcement career, serving as an instructor for the Idaho POST Council.
Ray was first ordained into the ministry while living in Orange County and now serves as the Associate Pastor in his home church in Nampa, Idaho. A former United States Marine, he is a public speaker, communicating to groups of all sizes on the topics of community and personal safety. Since 1999 Ray has been a primary instructor for the Idaho POST Academy – Police Training Institution for Idaho- instructing on subjects of Arrest Control, Cultural Diversity and for the last five years exclusively on the topic of Instructor Development, where he teaches other officers to be POST certified instructors. He is currently serving as the lead sex crimes investigator for the agency where he works. He has been married to the same woman for 27 years and has three children; two sons and a daughter. Ray lives with his family in Idaho.
Ray’s debut novel, a work of urban fiction, N.H.I.: No Humans Involved, was released in March of this year.
You can visit Ray online at or connect with him on twitter at or Facebook at!/pages/Ray-Ellis-Author/116322698426928.

The Interview

Could you please tell us a little about your book?
NHI is really about one of the prejudices common to law enforcement, the us versus them syndrome. The main character, Nate Richards, is assigned to solve a series of murders, but in the process a new street gang surfaces and Nate’s girlfriend has been kidnapped. The question of who is a good guy and who is a bad guy is central to the story. The quandary Nate has to wrestle with is will he succumb to his instincts to take matters into his own hands and himself become part of the NHI, No Humans Involved.
Who or what is the inspiration behind this book?
There are a series of beliefs that are common to the law enforcement psyche, one of which is NHI: No Humans Involved; which basically states that there are certain people or people groups that are less than human. In most case this relates to druggies and gang-bangers, thugs and such. But the conflict comes when one of the persons in this group bucks the stereo-type and is more than expected or one us less. For me the question was, as a law enforcement officer, what would I do if confronted with that very contradiction. This was my inspiration for NHI.
What is the most important thing in your life right now?
Right now, in the wake of the storms that have wreak havoc throughout the south and
the killing of Osama Bin Laden, now more than ever the value of family and friends and my faith in God have risen in even higher levels of important.
What do you feel is your biggest strength?
Relating to people. I love people and watching people, they fascinate me. I love teaching and watching growth take place.
You know the scenario – you’re stuck on an island. What book would you bring with you and why?
If I were stuck on a desert island what book would I take? First am I alone? Remember the people thing- But most of all I would take my Bible because it is, in my opinion, the best piece of literature ever written. It deals with the whole of the human story, the best and the worst of what it means to be man; and it reveals God’s heart for mankind.
What is the most important lesson you have learned from life so far?
The most important thing I’ve learn from life is the importance of love, of forgiving one another and the accepting and giving of grace. As one of my friends said to me before she died at 86 years old, “When you get to be my age you realize all you have left are the memories. Make good memories.”

About N.H.I.: No Humans Involved

No Humans InvolvedHalf of Treasure City is controlled by a violent street gang.  The other half is controlled by fear.  A rookie detective, Nate Richards, is thrust between the two.  Abyss, a mysterious street gang moves into the valley and people have started dying.  Nate’s girlfriend suddenly disappears and the gang is being targeted as the cause.  With his partner fighting for her life – the result of a vigilante’s bullet, political pressure from above, and time running out to find his missing girlfriend, Nate has to overcome the darkness that has taken over the city and threatening to consume his soul.  Forced to fight to stay on the case, he has to work against his command and the elements of the streets  while trying to hold on to his faith that seems to make less and less sense as details unfold.  With darkness growing and evil seeming to swell, will Nate have enough time to solve the murder and discover the identity of the new gang leader before his girlfriend becomes the latest victim in the growing violent total?  Will he succumb to get the job done by any means necessary, or will he become part of the problem and prove that there are No Humans Involved?

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Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Process of Writing Part II (Structure): Session One

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s turn our attention to creating a sound structure. Think of it like you would if you were building a house. You may have all the best building materials and even skilled craftsmen, but if your foundation is weak, the structure will fall. The same is true when it comes to your story.  

The first thing we will explore is the Ghost. When you hear the term ghost what comes to mind? Something ethereal, mist like… something lacking substance? Well this is sort of kind of true as it relates to your protagonist.

The Ghost serves as a single event from the past that is still giving your hero trouble. The Ghost is usually the source of the need. Remember the NEED is something missing within your hero…i.e. Luke Skywalker’s desire to revenge the death of his father.

As Truby says, in really good writing the Ghost is an internal opponent for your hero; it is something holding him back. The Ghost must be the counter DESIRE for your hero. Remember the desire is the goal outside of your hero and is most often found to be bad in the end.  The desire pushes your protagonist forward while the Ghost serves to try and hold him back.

Finally, the Ghost is very important because it gives the story a running start. It catches the reader in the running stages and is the back story: everything that happened to the hero before the story began.  Obi wan says, “Darth Vader hunted down and killed your father.”

Well he didn’t exactly use those words, but you get the picture. It served as the kernel of Luke’s desire to get revenge on the Empire in general and on Darth Vader in particular.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Christina Marie Kang: Book Review

Ray just finished the book. It is FABULOUS!!! The story was great the plot had awesome flow. You had me laughing and crying! I love Nate. A person can relate to him, his struggles and frustrations. Now I won't say what happened but I definitely didn't see it ending like that! So you got me there lol ;) waiting in endless anticipation for D.R.T. I am hooked on this series!! Again, thank you so much for sharing!"

Friday, June 17, 2011

New Book Review

My Review: Black Diamond Book Reviews

This was an excellent first book by Ray Ellis!  I enjoy reading books with a lot of action and suspense, and this book sure didn't disappoint me at all!  

After I read the book I saw that it was a christian murder mystery.   This book was not at all a church type book trying to preach to you.  I have read non-christian books that have felt more preachy than this book.  Don't get me wrong, it did have bible references in it, but they fit well into the story.

We are introduced to Detective Nate Richards.  He is trying to solve the case of a murder of a fellow police officer and a teen boy.   His partner is also injured during a shooting.  The anarchist symbol seems to be the killer's trademark.  That leads Nate to think that it is a certain gang that is doing the killings.  

I definitely recommend this book!  It had a great mix of characters.  The action was intense, and the ending was very surprising!  I am looking forward to reading the next book written by Ray Ellis!

My Rating:
4/5 diamonds - Recommend this murder mystery!

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N.H.I.: No Humans Involved Virtual Book Tour Schedule
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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Monday, June 13, 2011

One Day At A Time: N. H. I.: No Humans Involved by Ray Ellis

One Day At A Time: N. H. I.: No Humans Involved by Ray Ellis: "N. H. I.: No Humans Involved is a debut Christian murder mystery novel from author Ray Ellis . Nate Richards is a rookie detective in Tr..."

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Process of Writing: Part 17

We’ve come to the last session of our seven basic steps.  But don’t worry there is a lot more information we can still refer to as we become better writers while learning this craft of creative prose.

The final adjustment that must be included in your manuscript; or more specifically speaking, your character development, is the New Equilibrium. This new balance, this new symmetry that has been achieved by your protagonist is reflective of the adjustment we mentioned in the last session, Growth.  But this, New Equilibrium, is the final placement for your character, where he or she ends up as a person.

Because he has obtained the prize for which he has fought, and he now has the prerequisite Growth, he must now arrive at some new destination within himself. He must be either better or worse than he was before. Like Luke Skywalker as he confronts the emperor, and says, “You lose Emperor. I am a Jedi, like my father before me.”